UNITED STATES—Most restaurants are shifting to drive-thru operations to continue serving their customers. The likes of Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Zaxby’s have adopted drive-thru as well as delivery and take-out in their operations. Such a shift is connected to the need for minimizing person-to-person contact and, thus, reducing the risk for coronavirus infection.

But don’t be complacent either! Just because you have less contact with the crew members at your favorite restaurant doesn’t mean that you can be sloppy about safety measures. You must be as vigilant as ever, especially considering that Covid-19 has taken the lives of more than 100,000 Americans – now isn’t the time to be sloppy or complacent.

Keep Your Distance

Experts at the Johns Hopkins University has recommended maintaining a six-foot radius between each other in public places. This can also be applied when you’re at a drive-thru, even when there’s a physical barrier between yourself and the crew. Keeping your distance should be easy, too, since many drive-thru have microphones into which customers can speak.

If you’re using a restaurant’s takeout services, you should also keep your distance from others. There are lines or circles that you can follow in order to keep your distance.

Wear a Mask and Gloves

We understand that wearing a mask and gloves is your personal prerogative, and many jurisdictions don’t require it. But if you want to provide more protection for yourself, you have to wear both a mask and a glove when you’re at a drive-thru.

The face mask can filter out the respiratory droplets from other people while also protecting others from your respiratory droplets. The gloves can reduce the risk brought by skin-to-skin contact with others and with direct contact to possibly contaminated surfaces.

But wearing a face mask and gloves aren’t enough to reduce your risk of infection! Keep these tips in mind so you can maximize their use.

  • Check that your mask is worn the right way. Your nose, mouth and chin should be fully covered.
  • Avoid touching your mask with your hands, whether you have gloves on or not. You may just touch a contaminated surface and transferred the pathogen to your mask.
  • Remove your gloves, sanitize your hands with alcohol or a hand sanitizer, and then remove your mask by its ear loops.
  • Wash your mask with laundry soap and dry using medium heat to disinfect it.
  • Never place your gloves on surfaces that you and others will be touching. Instead, place it on the floor of your car and dispose of it properly later on.

Wash Your Hands as Often as Possible

You should sanitize your hands with 70 percent alcohol or with hand sanitizer when another person hands over your food order. You should wash your hands with soap and warm water, too, as soon as you get home. Then, you have to wash your hands again after removing the food from their containers.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the coronavirus is usually transmitted through respiratory droplets, particularly when an infected person sneezes and/or coughs. While the transmission is possible when touching surfaces with the coronavirus on them, it isn’t the primary way of transmission.

But we also want to emphasize that it’s better to be safe than sorry. In fact, you will find many restaurants like McDonald’s with hand washing stations, alcohol and hand sanitizers for their customers for this reason.

Use Contactless Payment Options

If you can skip cash payments, you should do so. At the very least, you will be minimizing contact with objects that others have handled. You can use virtual payment options like ApplePay or credit and debit cards.  You may want to sanitize your cards, too, by placing a few drops of sanitizer on them and lightly rubbing their surfaces.

Yet another way to minimize contact is to use your own pen when signing on receipts. You may think it as overreacting but when it comes to your health and safety in the current pandemic, it’s worth it.

Are you on the verge of panicking with all of the abovementioned safety measures? Well, you shouldn’t panic! But it pays to be aware of what you can and cannot do to protect yourself and your family.

There’s also no reason to panic about being infected by eating fast-food meals delivered to your doorstep or bought at the drive-thru. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are no reports showing that the coronavirus can be transmitted via food and their packaging.

But if you’re still concerned about it, you can keep these tips in mind.

  • Eat perishable food within 1-2 hours after getting it from the restaurant. Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible.
  • Keep food as hot as possible if you can’t eat takeout food immediately.

While the coronavirus pandemic has affected our daily lives and livelihood, we should strive for normalcy – or in this case, the new normal.